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St Mary`s School
Packhorse Road, SL9 8JQ, UK Gerrards Cross
+44 (0)1753 883370

St Mary's Logo

St Mary's School, Gerrards Cross. An Independent Day School For Girls

Welcome to our web site. St. Mary's is a vibrant independent school for girls aged from 3 to 18 years. Our small classes, outstanding teachers and an especially warm and happy atmosphere, combine to generate a positive environment for success.

I hope you enjoy your visit to our web site but to get a true flavour of our school, please do come and visit us. If you are looking for a lively, stimulating school, where your daughter will be intellectually extended, she will achieve well academically, her confidence will develop and flourish, she will have strong staff and peer support and, above all, she will enjoy life, then come to St. Mary's School.

Open Evening Wednesday 10 October (Senior House only) 5.30pm

Open Evening Thursday 29 November (Senior House only) 6.00pm

Mrs F.A. Balcombe B.A.Hons, P.G.C.E. Headmistress

School Life - Our School

Drama and DanceSt. Mary’s provides girls from 3 to 18 with a rich and varied education, designed to make the most of each girl’s talents and potential. Many girls join us in the nursery and stay with us through to gaining A levels at 18 and moving on to university. During their time with us, our aim is to build their academic and personal confidence, to offer them a stimulating and challenging curriculum both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities and to ensure a warm supportive environment, allowing them to grow and flourish.

Facilities at the school are extensive and are continually being updated to ensure that St. Mary’s has the latest teaching aids and techniques available. Recent developments include a new light and airy Art studio and a self-contained sixth form centre with a common room, kitchen and quiet study areas.

The IT facilities are regularly upgraded and extended. Recently, a significantly enhanced school network system was installed with up-to-date hardware and software throughout. This is a continuous process. We have also installed a fast broadband connection allowing site-wide wired and wireless access to the Internet and email. The provision of computers in all teaching and learning areas is extremely generous.

Entry procedure

The school provides a broad academic education for girls between the ages of 3 and 18. Entry to Junior House is into the Nursery at 3 years. Entry to Senior House is at 10+, 11+ and 16+. St Mary’s Junior pupils transfer to Senior House at 10+. Girls may enter the school at other stages if places are available.

For Nursery and Junior Prep, offers are made on a ‘first come first served’ basis with no assessment; a familiarisation session follows acceptance of the offer. Later entry to Junior House involves an informal assessment day, during which girls are assessed in Numeracy, Literacy and (from 7+) Non-Verbal Reasoning.

The Senior school draws its pupils at 11+ from a wide range of maintained primary and preparatory schools, within a radius of approximately 15 miles.

Entry is selective at 11+ by assessment (English, Mathematics, Verbal/Non-Verbal Reasoning) and interview (usually in small groups) appropriate to the age/year of pupils. At 16+ entry is based on academic ability and GCSE results (5 A* - C passes, preferably with Bs or above in chosen A Level subjects) and interview. At other stages and times the same process will apply, as appropriate to the age of the candidate seeking entry. At each stage of entry (except Early Years) references are required from the candidate’s current school and will be influential in the decision-making process. Ultimately, all pupils will normally be expected to take 8 – 11 GCSEs and 3 – 4 A Levels. The ability profile in the school is wider than that in the surrounding Buckinghamshire grammar schools.

We are an equal opportunities School.



The school aims to develop the academic and personal potential of the individual and to build character and self esteem, through small class teaching, in a grammar school style education with a broad, balanced curriculum supported by excellent resources and facilities. Girls are admitted to the school where they have the potential to match the current pupils’ achievement profile, at the various Key Stages, including GCSE and A Level. The ability range extends from average to exceptional. Opportunities are offered for the development of high standards in extra-curricular activities such as music, drama, games, and dance. The school has an Anglican Foundation and has been granted designation as a school with a specific religious character. The Christian values which inform the life of the school include respect for members of other faith communities. Pupils from all or no faiths are welcomed. All GCSE pupils take the Religious Studies Short Course which is a half GCSE.

Waiting Lists

Where places are over-subscribed in the annual Assessment Tests, waiting lists will apply in an academic rank order and, in the event of the impossibility of distinguishing between two candidates, the order in which parents registered their daughters will be taken into account. Where offers are made at other times in the year, subject to a place becoming available (this may occur mid-year for various reasons such as a move into the area), candidates will be added to the waiting list.

Internal Transfer

St Mary's pupils in Y5 transfer automatically into Senior House, although occasionally it is appropriate to advise parents of struggling pupils to consider other schools for their Secondary education. The expectation is that St Mary's pupils in Y11 will proceed through into the Sixth Form, going on to university/college. Any pupil struggling academically at this stage will be advised appropriately; the school seeks to provide for them where possible.

Sibling Policy

The school seeks to admit siblings where Assessment results are positive; however, where places are over-subscribed, siblings will be placed on a waiting list in the order of application for the place.

How to apply

Open Days, Scholarships and the annual Assessment Day are advertised in the local press and disseminated to feeder schools. Parents may telephone, fax or email the school at any time, requesting a prospectus and/or a visit. The Registrar will arrange a visit to the school which will include a full tour of the facilities and a talk with the Headmistress; parents are invited to bring their daughters with them if they can. A ‘Taster Day’ for the girl may be arranged at parents’ request: this gives the opportunity to get to know the school at close hand and carries no obligation on either side. If parents request a place for Nursery/Junior Prep or an Assessment for their daughter to enter at other levels, the school requires the completed Registration form and fee in advance. Offers based on Assessments are made available to parents as soon as possible. Offers may be made verbally but are always confirmed in writing. Girls with Special Learning Needs e.g. dyslexia, are accepted into the school if the school feels it can support the girl appropriately. Learning Support teachers are employed by the school.

Notice of withdrawal

Parents are required to give one full term's notice of withdrawal in writing to the Headmistress. Notice may be given no later than the first day of the pupil's final term.

Tuition fees from September 2006

Senior House

Term fees for Senior House range from £3,085 to £3,425 per term

Junior House

Term fees for Junior House range from £940 to £2,855 per term


  1. A returnable deposit of £250 UK Nationals / £500 others will be included in the account for a girl’s first term. It will be credited against the closing account when the pupil leaves the school.
  2. A discount of 10% on the tuition fees is given for a younger sister whilst both girls are pupils. The discount is not given for girls in the nursery.
  3. The nursery tuition fees cover five mornings per week. Pro rata rates are applicable when the child’s day is extended into the afternoon.
  4. Information covering additional charges for items such as lunch, books, optional subjects and activities may be obtained from the Bursar.


There is a wide variety of extracurricular activities on offer in both Junior and Senior Houses.  Activities take place before and after school and during the lunch hour.  These include:

Chamber Singers     
Dance Club     
Duke of Edinburgh's Award 
General Dance    
Gym Clubs

Individual Music Tuition   
Jumping Beans
Kick Boxing
Middle School Band
Puzzle Club
Running Club
Science & Gardening  
Speech & Drama
Tag Rugby
Young Enterprise


The two years in the sixth form are both the most stimulating and the most challenging of a girl's school career. The students entering the sixth form are expected to take on much more responsibility for their own learning, managing their time effectively to meet the much more challenging academic work, to broaden their experience and also play a much wider role in the life of the school.

Privileges and Responsibilities

To mark the change in their status, the girls are allowed to wear their own clothes and have a dedicated sixth form centre complete with common room, kitchen and study areas, equipped with computers. Their privileges also include the freedom to go out of school during the school day. In return for these privileges they have a number of responsibilities as Prefects, Form Prefects and House Officials. They may even become one of the prestigious Head Girl's Team of Senior Prefects.

Wider Activities

All sixth formers have a busy life, widening their profile with work experience and community service. They also have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of sporting activities, Duke of Edinburgh's Award, Young Enterprise and various clubs and activities with the younger girls. They also are given individual careers guidance to help with their decision about their future.

The Curriculum

Most girls study four subjects at AS level from the list below, continuing three subjects through to A2. Girls may study all four subjects at A2. In addition, all Sixth Formers take Key Skills Music, Physical Education, General Studies, Ethics and Careers.

Subjects which can be taken at A level :

  • Art & Design
  • Business Studies
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English Literature
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • Health & Social Care
  • History
  • Home Economics
  • ICT
  • Italian
  • Mathematics
  • Media Studies
  • Physics
  • Religious Studies
  • Theatre Studies
  • Physical Education (AS)


Early Years

Handfulls of coloured rice

St. Mary’s offers a warm and inviting environment, which provides a friendly, caring atmosphere for the girls to begin establishing their early learning skills. Girls join the Nursery department at the age of three and the stimulating curriculum is planned in accordance with the Foundation Stage Profile. From the beginning the girls can take advantage of the school’s facilities for Music, PE and ICT.

The Early Years staff are experts at helping new pupils to settle in quickly and easily. From day one they establish a rapport with the girls that helps them develop self-confidence and enthusiasm. The carefully constructed schedule develops the girls’ skills through play-based activities.

Close links are maintained with parents through day to day contact as well as more formal meetings. Parents are updated on their daughter’s progress and informed about the phonics teaching which is integral to the curriculum.

The Early Years classes are fully integrated with the rest of Junior House for events such as Harvest Festival, Carol Service and Sports Day.

Junior House

IT Lesson

In Junior House, girls build on their basic skills, adding further subjects to their day, including Science, Design Technology, French, History, Geography, Thinking Skills, Music, Dancing, Speech & Drama. More sports are introduced such as netball, football, athletics and badminton. Throughout the busy schedule, teaching staff focus on identifying and drawing out each girl’s individual strengths so that all the girls can feel a sense of real achievement. Where appropriate learning support is offered and a gifted & talented programme caters for the more able pupils.

The girls take field trips to broaden their understanding. Visits to Flatford Mill and Verulamium involve Geography, History and Art. Workshops and trips to theatres, concerts and museums also enhance the curriculum.

Events such as World Challenge days and the French Verse Speaking competition build the girl's confidence, self esteem and leadership skills. All girls are also encouraged to try some of the many extracurricular activities on offer so that they can learn new hobbies and skills and develop their potential in all areas.

Life Skills

Studying hard

At all stages the school works in close partnership with parents. We recognise and celebrate the achievements of every girl in all aspects of her education. Both basic skills and life skills are actively fostered in an all-round curriculum, designed to best prepare the girls for life in the modern world.

Close links are maintained with other local schools, both from the private and the maintained sector, so that the girls come into contact with pupils from a range of different backgrounds and experience.

Senior House

Girls enter the Senior House at the age of 10 in Year 6. The curriculum, planned in accordance with national guidelines, is broad and there are also many opportunities for outside trips and school-based events linked to academic studies. In 2006 there were visits to World War battlefields in France, a Mediterranean cruise to study Ancient History sites, language trips to Florence, Venice and the Dordogne, a ski trip to America and numerous school based events.

Sporting Activities

The girls take part in a wide variety of sporting activities. These range from tennis, netball and swimming to kick boxing, streetdance and tag rugby. There is something for everyone and the girls are encouraged to try as many different activities as possible so that they can find out which sports suit them best. The school has excellent facilities, including tennis courts, a hockey pitch, swimming pool, athletics field and two sports halls.


In Years 10 and 11 girls take between 8 and 11 GCSEs and year on year achieve high levels of academic success. There are 6 core subjects which must be taken and the girls can then choose up to five additional optional subjects. Below is a list of compulsory and optional subjects.

Compulsory Subjects at GCSE:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • French
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Religious Studies (short course)

Optional Subjects which may be taken at GCSE:

  • Art
  • Business and Economics
  • Drama and Theatre Arts
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Home Economics
  • Information Technology
  • Italian
  • Music
  • Physical Education (short course only)
  • Spanish

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